Headings boost SEO and play an essential role on the creation of your web content. Not only do they break up your text so that it’s easier for humans to read, they also provide structure to your content, which makes it easier for the robots and crawlers to contextualise.
By creating headings, you’re differentiating the content on your web page, separating it into easily digestible chunks — and flagging up to the search engines that your content follows a certain hierarchy.
Heading tags go from <h1> to <h6>, and they function in a hierarchical system. The H1 tag is the most important and the H6 tag is the least important — so you can group your content easily under these headings to indicate to search engines what your web page is really about. Here’s a quick example of that hierarchy in action:
<h1> Title of Page / Post </h1>
Here is some introductory text to explain what your page or post is about.
<h2> Subtitle </h2>
Here’s a little information on a certain element of your business, product or service.
<h3> Heading 3 </h3>
- These bullet points help break up your content further.
- This heading is the third most-important on your page.
- Use your headings wisely to boost reader comprehension.
<h2> Another Subtitle </h2>
This section is equally as important as the text under the other H2 tag.
<h3> Another Third Heading </h3>
The text here holds equal importance to the other text which falls under the H3 tag.
Your H1 tag should describe everything about the current webpage in one fell swoop. It used to be that you could only include one H1 tag on your page, but the creation of HTML5 means you can have multiple H1 tags if you see fit.
Boost SEO with keywords
If you want to boost SEO, you’ll undoubtedly be looking for opportunities to organically include your keywords. Your focus keyword for each page should be included in your H1 tag if possible, and you can use longer-tail or secondary keywords in the less important tags (H2 to H6), as long as it’s not too forced. Be careful not to stuff your headings with too many keywords — you may incur a penalty for this.
Don’t go overboard with headings
More headings don’t necessarily mean that you boost SEO — quite the opposite in fact. You should only use headings when they’re actually needed, to break up the content and to signal the start of a new subject or topic. If you’re using headings every other sentence, you might want to reconsider the structure of your page.
Single-page websites are a huge trend right now, with many businesses choosing an endless scroll method of displaying their content. These pages must be broken up with headings, or the search engines will simply see the page as one endless block of text, with no indication as to which keywords are most important or what service is being offered.
Don’t like the appearance? Take to the CSS…
Headings aren’t for appearance purposes — they’re for structure. Some people use heading tags incorrectly purely because they like the appearance of H3 over H1, or they prefer to have all of their headings looking the same. If you don’t like how your headings appear, it’s time to learn CSS, or call in someone who can change the CSS to make your headings look exactly as you want them to. Focus on the structure first, then devote a little time to amending the CSS to ensure the page looks how you imagined it.
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